Some local media organisations unfortunately chose to cast a blind eye to the KL anti-war demonstration yesterday.
Basic journalism tells us that any event or issue that emerges in a society – especially one of national significance or with international dimensions – merits coverage by major media organisations.
That is why certain local media, such as ntv7 (in its 8.00 pm news bulletin yesterday) and online newspaper malaysiakini (yesterday), found it important to report the Malaysian Anti-War Coalition’s protest against the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq four years ago. The protest was held in front of the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
And yet there are other local media organisations that unfortunately chose to cast a blind eye to the KL demonstration yesterday – or at the very least reduced the incident to a very brief mention.
For example, The Star today front-paged a photograph of demonstrators in Budapest, Hungary who protested against invasion of Iraq. On page 35, the same newspaper splashed a huge photo of demonstrators staging a similar protest in Hollywood. In accompanying reportage, the paper highlighted the fact that “tens of thousands of demonstrators on Saturday flooded the streets of Washington, Hungary, Spain, Australia, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, South Korea, Chile, Sweden, Iraq and elsewhere in protest”. One can only guess that, for some un-journalistic reason best known to the ‘people’s paper’, the 300-strong KL protest (according to malaysiakini) came under the rubric of ‘elsewhere’.
theSun today splashed the pix of the Hollywood demonstration on its front-page followed by a report of the worldwide protest on page 8 where the KL demonstration earned a mere mention in the last paragraph of the reporting. Perhaps theSun’s reporters were on weekend leave while a major event took place?
Speaking of demonstrations, there was also another demonstration yesterday in Petaling Jaya in which protesters staged a massive protest against the recent toll hike. This was dutifully covered by malaysiakini and The Star.
But The Star’s coverage of the toll protest reveals much about the People’s Paper’s mentality. The report was only carried on … hold your breath… page 28 (of the northern edition)! And it was framed in such a way that it gave the impression that the demo created inconvenience not only to the passers-by/traffic but also "disrupts taekwondo tournament" (part of the report’s headline).
In a sense, The Star’s coverage, or lack of coverage, of the KL demonstration is an anti-climax to what appeared in the recent Sunday Star. The Sunday edition carried its usual commentary by senior editor Wong Chun Wai, this time about the now world-famous blunder committed by Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor who apparently took a swipe at women bloggers. Wong rightly came to the defence of bloggers in general where he said, among other things, "To suggest that bloggers have an anti-national agenda simply implies that some of us are still not logged into blogsphere."
Perhaps The Star’s editors, themselves, should log into the Internet and learn a thing or two about how events of national importance should be reported so that the public are fully appraised as to what’s happening around them.